A change in one process brings about a change in, or has an effect on, another
“The sea suddenly rushes in with a surge and the deck chair goes toppling! The sandcastle, now standing along with the family long since departed for their midday meal, melts in the waves and is soon reduced to a small hump of went sand among shingle and sea shells.”
It is not always easy to see the ’cause and effect’ relationships between processes. I hit a ball with golf club – which causes the ball to move in a particular direction of hopefully the direction I intended! I put so much material into the recipe, the cake rises perfectly! I switch on the machine, it starts working ! And so on.
When trying to innovate a process, it is important to understand the causes of the effects we want to bring about. “If I do this, then that will happen as a result.”
Process Effect Activity
Identify a current problematic process. Now, write the problem as a statement in a few words in the centre of a piece of paper. Then, draw a long line to the left of the problem statement. Then draw further lines at angles to that line and write as many causes of the problem as you can think of. In my simple example I have identified just two.
Then select one cause and turn the statement into a ‘solution statement’. For example –
“Unreliable delivery firm” could become:
“Find a more reliable delivery firm” Or “Work to improve reliability of delivery firm”
For my second problem cause, “Poor scheduling” I could write:
“Implement new scheduling system” or “Improve quality of scheduling.”
The next step is to select one of the possible solutions and write that onto a new piece of paper on the left hand side. Then identify the possible ‘effects’ or consequences of adopting a particular solution to the problem. In my example, I have identified just two. There are probably many more.
This approach enables us to see the cause and effect relationships between problems, causes and solutions. Now, try it yourself ! You apply this method for each separate cause and for each identified solution.
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